Welcome to Michigan. Please meet Tracker, our project mascot, if you haven't met him already. He will be there to lead you around the sites and sniff out research information. So pull up a comfy chair and get your favorite beverage and take a look around.

My name is Jan Cortez, your State Coordinator. Most of our counties are up for adoption and looking for some one with an avid interest in counties in this State. If you are interested in adopting any of the available counties, please contact me. If your interest is more along the lines of providing materials, doing look-ups, typing, etc., I'd also like to hear from you.

FYI - The Statutes of the State of Michigan did not require birth, marriage & death registrations until 1867.

Michigan County List

County Date
Formed
County Seat Parent County Etymology Coordinator
Alcona 1840/1869 Harrisville Alpena & Cheboygan Psuedo-Native American name created by Henry Schoolcraft Adopt Me....
Alger 1885 Munising Schoolcraft Russel A. Alger, Governor of MI, Senator & Secretary of War during the McKinley administration Adopt Me....
Allegan 1831/1835 Allegan Kalamazoo Psuedo-Native American name created by Henry Schoolcraft Adopt Me....
Alpena 1840/1857 Alpena Cheboygan Psuedo-Native American name created by Henry Schoolcraft Adopt Me....
Antrim 1840/1863 Bellaire Grand Traverse County Antrim, Ireland Adopt Me....
Arenac 1883 Standish Bay & Saginaw Psuedo-Native American name created by Henry Schoolcraft Adopt Me....
Baraga 1875 L'Anse Houghton Frederic Baraga, Catholic missionary & first Bishop of the Diocese of Sault Ste. Adopt Me....
Barry 1829/1839 Hastings Kalamazoo & St. Joseph William T. Barry, Postmaster General in the Jackson administration Adopt Me....
Bay 1857 Bay City Midland & Saginaw Saginaw Bay Adopt Me....
Benzie 1863/1869 Beulah Grand Traverse & Leelanau French: Riviere Aux-Bec-Scies Adopt Me....
Berrien 1829/1831 St. Joseph Cass John M. Berrien, Attorney General in the Jackson administration Adopt Me....
Branch 1829/1833 Coldwater 1829 John Branch, Secretary of the Navy in the Jackson administration Adopt Me....
Calhoun 1829/1833 Marshall Kalamazoo & St. Joseph John C. Calhoun, Vice President of the U.S. in th Jackson administration Adopt Me....
Cass 1829 Cassopolis Lenawee Lewis Cass, Secretary of War in the Jackson administration Adopt Me....
Charlevoix 1869 Charlevoix Emmet Pierre Francois Xabier, Jesuit traveller & historian of New France Adopt Me....
Cheboygan 1840/1853 . Mackinac Chebiygan River Adopt Me....
Chippewa 1827 Sault Sainte Marie Mackinac Ojibwa Native American tribe, also known as the Chippewa Adopt Me....
Clare 1840/1871 Harrison Isabella, Mecosta & Midland County Clare, Ireland Adopt Me....
Clinton 1831 Saint John Kent & Shiawassee DeWitt Clinton, Governor of NY Adopt Me....
Crawford 1840/1879 Grayling Antrim, Cheboygan & Kalkaska Possibly for Fort Crawford Adopt Me....
Delta 1843/1861 Escanaba Mackinac Greek letter Delta, it refers to the triangular shape of the original county which included segments of Menominee, Dickinson, Iron & Marquette counties Adopt Me....
Dickinson 1891 Iron Mountain Marquette & Menominee Donald M. Dickinson, POstmaster General in the Cleveland administration Adopt Me....
Eaton 1829/1837 Charlotte Calhoun, Kalamazoo & St. Joseph John Eaton, Secretary of War in the Jackson administration Adopt Me....
Emmet 1840/1853 Petoskey Mackinac Robert Emmet, irish nationalist and rebel leader Adopt Me....
Genesee 1835 Flint Lapeer Seneca word, "je-nis-hi-yeh," meaning "beautiful valley", named after western NY State valley from which many early settlers came Adopt Me....
Gladwin 1831/1875 Gladwin Midland & Saginaw Major Henry Gladwin, British commander of the fort at Detroit during the seige by Chief Pontiac in 1763-63 Adopt Me....
Gogebic 1887 Bessemer Ontonagon Most likely from the Chippewa "bic" which most references interpret as "rock" Adopt Me....
Grand Traverse 1851 Traverse City Mackinac French phrase "grande travers" which means "long crossing." It was given first to Grand Traverse Bay by French voyageurs Adopt Me....
Gratiot 1831/1855 Ithaca Clinton & Saginaw Captain Charles Gratiot, built Fort Gratiot at the present site of Port Huron Adopt Me....
Hillsdale 1829/1835 Hillsdale Lenawee From its terrain, made up of hills and dales Adopt Me....
Houghton 1845/1846 Houghton Marquette, Ontonagaon & Schoolcraft Dr. Douglass Houghton, first state geologist, physician & surgeon, mayor of Detroit Adopt Me....
Huron 1840/1859 Bad Axe Saginaw, St. Clair & Sanilac Lake Huron. The French named "Lac des Hurons" for the Native American tribe they called "hure" (meaning "head") when they saw the fantastic way they dressed their hair Adopt Me....
Ingham 1829/1838 Mason Eaton, Jackson, Washtenaw Samuel D. INgham, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury in the Jackson administration Adopt Me....
Ionia 1831/1837 Ionia Kent Province in ancient Greece Adopt Me....
Iosco 1840/1857 Tawas City Cheboygan & Saginaw Pseudo Native American name created by Henry Schoolcraft Adopt Me....
Iron 1885 Crystal Falls Marquette & Menominee For the iron deposits & mines found in the county Adopt Me....
Isabella 1831/1859 Mount PLeasant Midland & Saginaw Queen Isabella I, of Spain, under whose patronage Columbus undertook his voyage Adopt Me....
Jackson 1829/1832 Jackson Washtenaw Andrew Jackson, 7th President of the U.S. & President when MI was admitted to the Union Adopt Me....
Kalamazoo 1829/1830 Kalamazoo St. Joseph Named for the Kalamazoo River Adopt Me....
Kalkaska 1840/1871 Klkaska Antrim & Grand Traverse Pseudo Native American name created by Henry Schoolcraft Adopt Me....
Kent 1831/1836 Grand Rapids Kalamazoo NY Jurist James Kent, who represented the Michigan Territory in its dispute with Ohio over the Toledo Strip Adopt Me....
Keweenaw 1861 Eagle River Houghton Ojibwe word gekiiwe-wewaning meaning portage Adopt Me....
Lake 1840/1871 Baldwin Mason, Newaygo, Oceana Several small lakes & is near Lake Michigan Adopt Me....
Lapeer 1822/1835 Lapeer Oakland Said to be an Americanization of the French le pierre meaning flint Adopt Me....
Leelanau 1840/1863 Leland Grand Traverse Pseudo Native American name created by Henry Schoolcraft Adopt Me....
Lenawee 1822/1826 Adrian Wayne A Henry Schoolcraft neologism signifying a Native American word for man - either from Delaware "leno or lenno" or the Shawnee "lenawai" Adopt Me....
Livingston 1833/1836 Howell Shiawassee, Washtenaw Edward Livingston, 2nd Secretary of State in the Andrew Jackson administration Adopt Me....
Luce 1887 Newberry Chippewa & Mackinac Named for MI Governor Cyrus G. Luce Adopt Me....
Mackinac 1818/1837 Saint Ignace Wayne & the French Was originally Michilimackinac, believed to be a French interpretation of the Native American name for the place Adopt Me....
Macomb 1818 Mount Clemons Wayne Named for US General Alexander Macomb, a notable officer of the War of 1812 Adopt Me....
Manistee 1840/1855 Manistee Grand Traverse, Mackinac, Oceana & Ottawa Named for the Manistee River, which in turn is from the Ojibwe name, ministgweyaa Meaning (river_ at whose mouth there are islands Adopt Me....
Marquette 1843/1851 Marquette Chippewa & Houghton Named for French Jesuit missionary Pere Jacques Marquette Adopt Me....
Mason 1840/1855 Ludington Oceana & Ottawa Named for MI Governor Stevens T. Mason Adopt Me....
Mecosta 1840/1858 Big Rapids Newaygo Named for Mecosta, a Native American leader Adopt Me....
Menominee 1861 Menominee Marquette Named for the Menominee Native American people Adopt Me....
Midland 1831/1850 Midland Saginaw Located near the geographical center of the Lower Peninsula Adopt Me....
Missaukee 1840/1871 Lake City Antrim & Grand Traverse Named for Missaukee, an Ottawa leader who signed land grant treaties in 1831 & 1833 Adopt Me....
Monroe 1817 Monroe Wayne Named for James Monroe, 5th US President Adopt Me....
Montcalm 1831/1850 Stanton Ionia Named for the Marquis de Montcalm Adopt Me....
Montmorency 1840/1881 Atlanta Alpena & Cheboygan House of Montmorency influential in the history of French Canada Adopt Me....
Muskegon 1859 Muskegon Ottawa Muskegon River running through the county, from the Ojibwe/Chippewa word "mashkig" meaning "swamp" or "marsh" Adopt Me....
Newaygo 1840/1851 White Cloud Kent, Muskegon, Oceana Named for the Chippewa leader who signed the Saginaw Treaty of 1819 Adopt Me....
Oakland 1819/1820 Pontiac Wayne Nmaed for the numerous "oak openings" in the county. Dr. Bela Hubbard, surveyor of MI., described an "oak opening" as "a majestic orchard of oaks and hickories varied by small prairies, grassy lawns and clear lakes" Adopt Me....
Oceana 1831/1851 Hart Ottawa Borders Lake Michigan, the fresh water "ocean" Adopt Me....
Ogemaw 1840/1875 West Branch Branch & Saginaw Named for the Ojibwe word ogimaa, meaning chief or leader Adopt Me....
Ontonagon 1843/1853 Ontonagon Chippewa & Houghton Named for the Ontonagon River, called "Nantounagon" on a 1670 French map. The Ojibwa word "onagon" means "dish" or "bowl" Adopt Me....
Osceola 1840/1869 Reed City Mason, Mecosta & Newaygo Osceola, Seminole chief Adopt Me....
Oscoda 1840/1881 Mio Alcona, Alpena & Cheboygan Pseudo Native American name created by Henry Schoolcraft Adopt Me....
Otsego 1840/1875 Gaylord Michilimackinac Named for Otsego County, NY Adopt Me....
Ottawa 1831/1837 Grand Haven Kent Named for the Native American Ottawa people Adopt Me....
Presque Isle 1840/1871 Rogers City Mackinac . A derivation of the French phrase for "peninsula" literally "almost and island"dopt Me....
Roscommon 1840/1875 Roscommon Cheboygan & Midland County Roscommon, Ireland Adopt Me....
Saginaw 1822/1835 Saginaw Oakland A Native American term, perhaps having reference to the Sauk tribe who lived at the mouth of the river Adopt Me....
Saint Clair 1820/1821 Port Huron Wayne Either named for Arthur St. Clair, first governor of the Northwest Territory, or for Saint Clair on whose feast day Lake St. Clair was discovered Adopt Me....
Saint Joseph 1829 Centreville Wayne St. Joseph River, which gains much of its volume within the county Adopt Me....
Sanilac 1822/1849 Sandusky Lapeer, Oakland & St. Clair Sanilac, a Wyandotte chief Adopt Me....
Schoolcraft 1843/1871 Manistique Chippewa, Houghton & Marquette Henry Rowe Scholcraft, American geographer & Superintendent of Indian Affairs in MI Adopt Me....
Shiawassee 1822/1837 Corunna Genesee & Oakland Named for the Shiawassee River, and means river that twists about Adopt Me....
Tuscola 1840/1850 Caro Saginaw Pseudo Native American name created by Henry Schoolcraft Adopt Me....
Van Buren 1829/1837 Paw Paw Cass Martin Van Buren, Secretary of State in the Jackson administration and later Vice President & 8th President of the U.S. Adopt Me....
Washtenaw 1822/1826 Ann Arbor Oakland & Wayne Native American people called the area west of Detroit "Washtne-ong," meaning "further district" or "land beyond" Adopt Me....
Wayne 1815 Detroit Original County "Mad" Anthony Wayne, U.S. Army General and statesman Adopt Me....
Wexford 1840/1869 Cadillac Manistee County Wexford, Ireland Adopt Me....
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Michigan Online Resources:

Seeking Michigan

Library of Michigan

Michigan Genealogical Council

Copyright 2013-2016 Jan Cortez

Page created 2 February 2013

Updated 27 August 2016